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How to Get Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night (In Just TWO Years)

30/09/2014 14:55 BST | Updated 29/11/2014 10:59 GMT

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Spend the first six months of parenthood in your pyjamas trying to get your baby to sleep, trying to get some sleep and trying to get stuff done on barely any sleep.

Establish a good bedtime routine. This is key to everything. Babies like to know exactly what to expect. So that they can do the exact opposite.

After discovering that, apparently, everybody else's baby sleeps through the night, take approximately one month to read baby sleep books, search the internet for baby sleep solutions and visit the health visitor on a weekly basis convinced something must be wrong with your child.

After being unable to leave the house for three days due to lack of sleep, decide you will have to sleep train your baby that night.

Too exhausted to sleep train baby. Postpone until the following day.

Still too tired.

Four days later you slightly less tired so decide to start sleep training.

Put the baby into her cot 'drowsy BUT not awake' (the golden rule of sleep training).

She immediately screams her head off. Tell her calmly, it is sleep time and leave the room.

Baby screams even louder. Immediately return to her room and pick her up.

Wonder if she might be teething.

Tell husband about possible teething and both decide to postpone sleep training, just to be on the safe side.

One week later commence sleep training.

Husband puts baby down, she screams. He leaves the room.

She screams even louder.

Discuss how long we should leave her. Five minutes maybe?

More screaming.

Tell husband you are going in.

Husband points out it has only been 45 seconds.

Inconsolable crying now.

Discuss possibility that she might have banged her head or been sick.

Go and get the baby.

Both fuss over her and feel guilty for leaving her to cry.

For three minutes.

Decide to research a different sleep training method in the morning that does not involve crying.

Baby then stays awake all night to make it clear she was not happy about the sleep training attempt.

Forget about plan to sleep train baby.

Pass out in Sainsbury's with exhaustion and vow to definitely sleep train the baby.

That night put baby in her cot sleepy but awake.

Baby immediately stands up and screams.

You pick her up, cuddle her, then just as she is looking comfortable in your arms - put her back in the cot.

She immediately cries.

Pick up, cuddle, put back down.

Repeat this process until you are too tired to stand up.

Text husband. IT IS YOUR TURN ON THE BABY. I AM GOING TO PASS OUT.

Husband continues with the process until he can barely stand (or his smart phone runs out of battery).

You take over until you are on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Take the baby into your bed for a 'few minutes'.

You and the baby fall asleep.

Decide to find a sleep training method that involves less effort.

That night put baby down in cot but do not leave the room. 'Gradually retreat' to a seat next to the cot.

Baby throws out her dummy and screams.

Tell yourself she is perfectly ok. She can see you are right next to her.

Try singing a lullaby but she can't hear it over her screaming.

Compromise by stroking her head over the cot bars.

Baby is now even more upset because she thought you were going to get her out.

Attempt to fob baby off by giving her a teddy. She throws out the teddy.

Try to give her a cuddle through the bars. Get arm stuck. Baby holds on to stuck arm for dear life.

Baby bites arm.

Finally wiggle arm out and the baby is jumping up and down in anger.

Baby bangs her chin on cot.

You get her out and give her a cuddle.

Delay sleep training until tomorrow due to chin injury.

The next day the baby is a little bit grumpy. Decide she might be coming down with something.

Put off sleep training.

The baby turns one and you celebrate surviving an entire year of barely any sleep by falling asleep before Coronation Street.

Make the decision that you must absolutely sleep train the baby that night.

Husband takes the baby up to her room.

Ten minutes later there is still no screaming. He returns downstairs.

Husband confesses he did not put her down 'drowsy but awake'.

"She fell asleep on me, " he shrugs.

Have a row with husband about the importance of putting her down 'drowsy but awake'.

Decide it is pointless doing sleep training tonight as husband has 'buggered it up'.

Sulk with husband for two days then decide to definitely, definitely, start sleep training. Seriously.

No. Matter. What.

On the third night of very gradually retreating nowhere baby sleeps for five hours straight.

Believe you have turned a corner.

Announce on Facebook that baby is practically sleeping through the night.

Tell everyone you know baby is practically sleeping through the night.

That night the baby wakes up TWELVE times.

One month later you have not gradually retreated any further than the chair beside the cot. And the baby is still waking up most of the night, every night.

Realise you are actually more exhausted than before you started sleep training.

The baby doesn't even scream now. She just stares smugly, throws her dummy out or sings. But should you even think about moving from the chair. She unleashes hell.

Get a more comfy chair.

Try putting baby to bed later.

Still she wakes.

Try putting baby to bed earlier.

Still she wakes.

Quit sleep training.

Stop Googling about the baby not sleeping, stop worrying about the baby not sleeping and accept that your baby is not sleeping.

Resign yourself to that fact that after a two-year battle the 'sleep thief' has won.

Happy in her victory (and by now suitably exhausted) the baby finally, finally, finally

SLEEPS...

...But not before teaching her little sister everything she knows about keeping us awake.

This time around we are not sleep training. I am far too tired. Besides, I am rubbish at it.

Instead, we are using a combination of simple techniques including 'Get The Baby To Sleep By Whatever Means Necessary' and 'Sod It. Just Let Her Sleep In Our Bed'.

Resources and support for sleep-deprived parents can be found at www.stolensleep.com or join me on Facebook.